The State Department has apparently decided to fancy up our new embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan with this $400,000 camel statue.
Now, as statues go, I actually kind of like this one. But $400,000? Not only is that nearly 10 times the median household income in America, but it’s a whopping 320 times the average yearly income of Pakistan. This can’t set us off to a good start in a country which already harbors significant resentment of America due to our indiscriminate drone strike policy.
But it gets worse: Are you familiar with the biblical story on which this statue is based? It’s short, so I’ll just share the whole text:
Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
“Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
Yeah, that’s right: This reference is from a story about the spiritual dangers of wealth, and particularly spending it on yourself when there are people in need. So of course our government is buying a $400,000 statue of it to place in a nation with an average income of $1,250 (that’s less than $3.50 a day) which is the regular recipient of our bombs.
To quote from Scripture again, “The rich are wise in their own eyes; one who is poor and discerning sees how deluded they are.”